Pulling on God’s Side.

rope pullHosea, Joel, Amos and Obadiah, each one of these men lived and served the Lord throughout different times and yet all dealt with many of the same cultural influences that continued to pull the people of Israel away from God. As I read through each of these books I begin to see a pattern that is similar to that of the Judges, a pattern that has its high and low points in the spiritual lives of the Israelites. Hosea describes what sounds like a time of depression or low point spiritually for the people. Joel and Amos tell us how the people become accustomed to living in sin and how it had become a way of life. During the time of Amos the people had come out of a time of depression and lived well, enjoying peace and prosperity all the while leaving God behind.

Gods timing and plan called for times of blessing and times of suffering, He wanted the people to know who He was and through His divine power He could alter their paths. When we get to Obadiah we begin to see a fall back into a place of fear and judgment as the people come up against the people of Edom. Through the words of Obadiah we read about the promise of restoration to the faithful remnant. Through the lives of these prophets God was calling His people back to Him, wanting them to turn away from the ways of other cultures and people.

What an amazing example again of God’s love and grace, He does not give up on His people when they turn away. We have assurances and promises today through Christ that when He comes again we will be with Him in heaven. Our culture today has a hard time understanding what this means. Our culture much like those in the days of the prophets pulls us in a different direction, opposite to that of our loving gracious God. As I work in a position of leadership I pray that I can effectively be “pulling” on God’s side helping people to know His love.

Joel… Called to Serve

joel

(Reflections based on the book of Joel as a whole)

Yahweh is God, that is the meaning of the name Joel and as I read through the verses in this short book I begin to see how the meaning of Joel’s name connects to his personal calling. Joel’s mission was to make the people aware who has control over everything, the one true God, Yahweh. Joel’s uses the events of the locust plague and warns the Israelite people that the “day of the Lord” was coming and all who turn away will be destroyed. Joel in his best effort tries to get the people to open their hearts and minds to the truths of the message that God is all-powerful and trustworthy.

As I read these few chapters one verse really sent me a clear message of God’s power. Chapter 2:3 reads “Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them.” The God who created what was made to be perfect (Eden) also has the power and authority to destroy and take away. Joel’s plea for the people to repent came from a deep personal understanding in his own heart of who God is, on God’s behalf Joel was calling them back into a covenant relationship with Yahweh.

I think Joel faced many of the same things that we face today; we have a generation of people that don’t even know who God is and for many they don’t want to know. We have a culture that focus on everything but the truths of the bible; people have chosen to do things for themselves, they have been raised into a culture that is self-serving. We like Joel need to be a part of the calling to bring people back to a faith in not just the next thing that is bigger and better, we need to be calling people to experience the heart change of the grace, mercy and love of our heavenly father.